VW Restore ("SEN"-91 Westy) A Vehicle worth saving!
SEN as I've called my '91 WESTY is a solid GL model that I looked long and hard for. He needed some immediate attention after purchase in July of 2009 and a long list of items was devised, some that could wait until money and time allowed. The name SEN comes from the abbreviated letters of the date that I took possession. Sen spent most of his life in Japan from what I can gather so I have chosen the Japanese translation of SEN="Wizard" as the true meaning of the name. There are several meanings to the word SEN so Wizard seems to be the most fitting. I think he has some sort of Wizardly power to have avoided virtually any serious rust since her conception in 1991. Although the Vanagon is the farthest thing from it I think SHINKANSEN (Japanese Bullet train) is a worthy long version of the name SEN...

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wheel Alignment finally done; Now Steering wheel is straight and new tires won't wear unevenly! Kayaks test fit on new racks for first time; Great fit and very secure!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010



The original plastic frames for the power window switches were broken. Also by looking at the worn out cardboard door panel cut-outs, a new plastic frame would probably not hold the switches in place so had to come up with an alternative.








I used a rigid plastic sheet as a backer for the nuts and washers. I also dabbed a bit of liquid electrical tape on the nuts to secure in place.

These custom milled Aluminum switch frames were expertly fabricated by machinists Steve Hoffmann and Ryan Bossy of Alberta. They fit great. Thanks guys!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

New Map pockets; 1/2" 6-32 Stainless Steel bolts with washers and nuts on the back of the cardboard door panel worked well for this install.

Decided that the second one just fits the front of the Glove Compartment for extra storage of small guide books and maps, etc. Again, used the 6-32 SS bolts and nuts only to hold this one on.




Coffee cup holders installed beside shifter; I Modified Canadian Tire "Window Mount-style cup holders" by cutting off the window-hook part on the top so that they would sit flush.


Also had the -Radiator replaced along with the -fan sensor, -thermostat (original was suspected of sticking open), -another coolant hose (original was nylon and leaking, new is Stainless Steel), and -left rear axle (both done now this year and the clock is now "reset to zero" on the CV joints). All wheel bearings also checked and are A-OK.

Thursday, June 10, 2010




Roof racks on, Kayak Cradles on, Window tinting done!!

Friday, May 21, 2010

May 2010 Work


New Wheels! Better ride with the 15" alloy rims and Michelin 205/65 R15, Agilis tires.

Also this month I'm finally bolting on my "Gary Lee" roof rack and Thule Kayak Cradles in preparation the arrival of our new Delta Boats.



Monday, April 12, 2010

Late March, Early April" renos".

-Installed dual Oil Pressure sender & gauge,
-Installed used grab handles on Drivers "A-pillar" and left of sliding door,
-Installed new Temp I and II Sensors,
-Had both elbow coolant hoses (above oil filter) & Oil Cooler seal replaced,
-Installed D-rings on back bench for securing cargo/coolers/etc.,
-Replaced the rear heater core under bench seat,
-Right Axle shaft and CV joints replaced after one joint failed in Penticton over the long weekend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

March Work

So far this month:

-New horn installed,
-Installed the Aux Battery wiring kit, installed a 40Amp/Hr batt,
-Took out the 2 table legs and front mount as well as the metal trim under the fridge & had these pieces sandblasted and re powder-coated.
-Installed a shoulder belt on the passenger side of the bench seat and pulled out the middle belt set.
-Replaced failing right rear hatch strut with stronger one.
-Had all fuel lines replaced and gas tank "reseal" kit done.
-Oxygen Sensor replaced.
-Installed new headlight relays & rewired ground wires and installed higher powered (100W) High beams.
-voltage improved from 11.27V to 12.3v

Saturday, February 27, 2010

More Feb work




--Installed a third brake light on storage tray in rear window.
-Hooked up new propane tank in original position, (replacing the portable one the previous owner had placed in the cabinet below the sink).
-Water tank drain finally attached with Loctite 2 part epoxy for Polyethylene and PVC.
-Replaced Radiator Grill clips with new parts.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Feb Work




-This month I'm adding florescent lights to the interior (replacing the incandescent light that was factory installed).
-Stove grate grills installed (in order to facilitate smaller pots and espresso pot).
-Headlight adjustors have been been replaced, contacts cleaned for headlights.
-Added front bumper European license plate holder (to accommodate one of the plates we had on our van in 1989-90 in Europe).

Monday, January 4, 2010

Work done Jan 2010.

The following work is being done this month, some of which I've started already:

-Replaced lightbulbs in shifter unit and heater console.
-Replaced cigarette lighter with an Auxiliary Power Outlet Assembly (GoWesty).
-Rebuilding the Water tank drain; The cap that I had bought last summer wouldn't screw on to the threaded drain pipe so I needed an alternative way to block the water and drain it after a trip. I consulted the local Home Depot Plumbing Pro and came up with a good fit. A 1&1/4" PVC fitting that accommodates a PVC tap shut-off.
-Adding a second ground strap to the Transmission as a backup (recommended from the transmission shop who rebuilt mine in the summer.
-Replacing the original Propane Tank with a new one from GoWesty and retrofit the copper LPG line to original config.
-Reinstall shelf that had been sacrificed in order to fit the portable LPG tank in the cabinet below sink.
-Replaced the front two door rubber window scrapers (GoWesty) .
-Replace Skylight lens (GoWesty), adjustment knob, coverplate, seal and hardware bolts/nuts with stainless steel.
-Clean and polish & protect Fibreglass Pop-top (with Meguires Marine RV Oxidation remover & Lucas Slick Mist UV Protectant).
-Add Front cab carpet (on top of the 19 years of grease, oil, brake fluid etc. on the original one).

Later in Spring when roads are dry I'll book an appointment at my trusted VW shop in Calgary for the following work:

-Gas line replacement kit (GoWesty purchased).
-Gas Tank ReSeal kit (GoWesty purchased).

More parts replace Summer '09.

The following parts were replaced/added during the summer/fall of '09:

-Shady Boy Awning. Silver fabric.
-Speedo Cable (now the speedometer, odometer and the Cruise Control works!).
-Added rear storage hammock over bed.
-Added battery powered LED lamp to the right of the rear bench seat for reading/eating.
-Added convex mirrors to side-view mirrors.
-Replaced missing defrost lever knob.
-Added GoWesty Rear Hatch removable lock extention (for ventilation while sleeping).
-Water reservoir hatch key (previously missing).
-Oil & filter Change; Synthetic (5W40 Lubro Moly) and Mann filter.
-Coolant Fluid Conditioner added.
-Gas Tank expansion tank elbow hoses replaced (leaking every time we filled up the tank).
-A-arm bushings lubricated (to attempt to quieten the squeaking of the front suspention.
-Vacuum hose replaced (looked suspect)
-Brakes re-bled and front brakes adjusted (to retain the feel the brakes had prior to replacing the two rear wheel cylinders).
-Heater control cable snapped and had to be shorten and re-attached.
-Wiper blade rubber replaced.

July Work

Items not working as of purchase date:

-speedometer (reading 108,800miles).
-cruise control (part of the speedo cable system).
-Air Conditioning (fan works but cold air is not).
-Main Propane tank is not hooked up, instead a small portable one has been rigged up under the sink in the cabinet).
-Inside Arm rests on both front seats broken.

July work included the following:

-Replaced suspect belts for Power Steering and Alternator.
-Cleaning up the Smog damage on the headliner, sidewalls, curtains, carpets, mattresses, Air Conditioning intake fins, etc.
-Replacing the passenger windshield washer arm bolt; What a bitch this job is! It took about four hours of frustrating work in a very small space behind the dash. Bruise forearms and fingers after this job was done!
-Transmission Fluid & Filter change.
-RPM hesitation occurring intermittently and more pronounced when turning right (van leaning left, indicating, perhaps a fuel delivery issue).
-Fuel Filter change (original still on van)
-Fuel Pump change (trying to diagnose RPM drop problem) -no joy!
-Fix Arm Rests.
-Change rear shocks as they were leaking.
-Multi purpose relay change (trying to diagnose RPM drop problem which has now proved to be more electronic than fuel related).
-Change Coil in attempt to fix RPM drop and it turns out to be the problem! -miraculously!!

-Master Brake Cylinder change (due to a FUBAR move on my part when thinking I was topping up Brake fluid reservoir...)
-Rebuilt Auto Transmission and Differential.
-Replaced Rear Wheel Cylinders (leaking).

Van wouldn't start after my shop replaced the wheel cylinders;
-Replaced the Digifant Computer with a barely used Bosch Computer and all worked well again... I was told by a very experienced VW Mechanic that the Digifant was the wrong unit to be in my van and my serial number required the Bosch one. I had to take his word for it as he convinced me that he did his research and was sure that the Digifant unit would cause further problems.

Missing items in Van replaced with used parts:
-Front table leg and table.
-Drivers door louvered vent
-Glove Compartment light bulb.
-Shock Cord for rear curtain.
-Water tank drain cap.
SEN as I've called my '91 WESTY is a solid GL model that I looked long and hard for. She needed some immediate attention after purchase in July of 2009 and a long list of items that could wait until money and time allowed. The name SEN comes from the abbreviated letters of the date that I took possession of the van. She spent most of her life in Japan from what I can gather so I have chosen the Japanese translation of SEN=Shinkansen (the Japanese Bullet train) or perhaps "Wizard" as (one of) the true meanings of the name. There are several meanings to the word SEN so Wizard seems to be the most fitting. I think she has some sort of Wizardly power to have avoided virtually any serious rust since her conception in 1991...